Whales and nations: environmental diplomacy on the high seas.

Whales and nations: environmental diplomacy on the high seas. Kurkpatrick Dorsey.

Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013. Octavo, dustwrapper, black and white photographs, maps.

Before commercial whaling was outlawed in the 1980s, diplomats, scientists, bureaucrats, environmentalists, and sometimes even whalers themselves had attempted to create an international regulatory framework that would provide a sustainable whaling industry. This book tells the story of the international negotiation, scientific research, and industrial development behind these efforts - and their ultimate failure. Whales and Nations begins in the early twentieth century, when new technology revived the fading whaling industry and made whale hunting possible on an unprecedented scale. By the 1920s, declining whale populations prompted efforts to develop "rational" - what today would be called sustainable - whaling practices. But even though almost everyone involved with commercial whaling knew that the industry was on an unsustainable path, Dorsey argues that powerful economic, political, and scientific forces made failure inevitable. Based on a deep engagement with diplomatic history, this book provides a unique perspective on the challenges facing international conservation projects. This history has profound implications for today's pressing questions of global environmental cooperation and sustainability.

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